There is no foolproof physical or logical proof that can be given for the existence of a supernatural deity. However, there are sufficient grounds for a rational acceptance of a creator. But that is still a big step away from accepting the God of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or any of the other thousands of religions that have existed throughout history. How, as a Christian, can I rationally claim that only Christianity can lead to knowledge of God. And that all other religions are dead ends?
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The most common method of choosing a God is to choose, or adopt, the God that you grew up around. This has the advantage of being straightforward, requiring little effort or thought. Nearly every cultural group has its concept of God, and indoctrination into that concept happens early in life. Included with that indoctrination is the belief that they have found the correct path to God, and all others are mistaken. Yet, how valid is that approach? Pretty much all religions make that claim, and they can’t all be correct in their assessment. It is evident that, at most, one of these religions can be right. As a result, the odds of being born into the correct one would be a matter of chance. So this method of choosing the correct God would have a pretty high failure rate.
Another way to know would be to compare the attributes of a logically derived creator of the universe with the attributes of the God of the Bible. But even if these attributes line up, it at most will serve to not eliminate the Christian God. There may be more than one logical set of attributes for a creator God. And there may be more than one religion that successfully maps to one of these attributes sets. Also, it is generally beyond most people to logically derive the attributes of a creator God and compare that attribute set with every religion that has ever existed.
A third way to determine the correct God would be to compare the holy writings of a specific religion with how the world is observed to be. Do these writings provide a valid explanation for the condition of the world? Including the interaction of the creator and his creation? If so, then the likelihood of this God being the correct one is more significant than if that explanation does not bear any resemblance to reality.
So what explanation does the Bible offer for the condition of our world today and God’s activity in it? The Bible claims that God spoke the whole universe into existence and that he did so for a purpose; the purpose of producing ‘sons of God.’ The Bible claims that the general movement of people is away from God and toward satisfaction of self-interest. It also claims that God seeks people who will turn away from their self-interest and serve him via faith rather than ritual. And finally, the Bible also claims that all who come to God in faith will become new creatures and that he will take up his abode within them.
The creation accounts in Genesis are frequently used to discredit the God of the Bible. The time frames used and the order of events does not align with modern science. But the most significant aspect of these accounts, and what sets them apart from other creation myths, is theological. That God speaks into existence the universe and all that is in it. Most other writings have their god forming the creation out of something that already existed.
Hebrews 11:3 confirms that, at God’s command, the universe was formed out of what did not previously exist. And the consensus of the scientific community supports this. What we see around us is not just a general reordering of something that has been in existence forever. At the very least, there has been a dramatic reconstruction of the elements of the universe. One that allows for no glimpse of what may have previously existed.
The thought that people will, in general, move away from God seems at first a little strange. Especially since so much of the world seems somehow to claim to know him. But if there is a God who created us with a purpose, it is hard to imagine that that purpose was for us to enjoy life in the here and now, and/or, to worship God as the creator. It seems much preferable to picture God’s purpose as reaching beyond this short life and into eternity.
If that is the case, then when I focus on this short life and what I can get out of it, I ignore God’s greater purpose in creation. And it is easy to see that most people, including the religious, very much live their lives as though this was all there is. The Bible talks about sin and claims that all sin, that all have fallen short of God’s purpose. We generally think of sin as doing something bad. But sin is simply falling short of God’s purpose for us. And that is something that we all do.
The Holy Spirit
I am aware of only a single religion today that teaches that God lives within his people. This unique teaching of Christianity, should it be possible to verify, would offer a much higher level of proof for the God of Christianity than anything else mentioned. But the challenge here is to provide evidence that the Holy Spirit, the indwelling presence of God, does indeed exist. And that he is a part of the life of those God has chosen. God is not detectable using our most sensitive scientific instruments. So there is no way to conduct an experiment to determine his presence. Instead, we need to use other methods to evaluate the presence of the Holy Spirit.
In proving the presence of the Holy Spirit, first of all, it must be pointed out that the whole concept of the Holy Spirit will appear as foolishness to the person who does not already have his presence within. The unbeliever may be able to detect a difference in the believer’s life. But the cause of that difference will remain a mystery. Apart from the Holy Spirit’s help, the presence of the spiritual, or supernatural, realm will be nothing more than a silly concept.
The Holy Spirit opens up a new sense within the believer, allowing them to experience the spiritual. A blind man cannot understand red. Nor can a person with no sense of taste understand sweet. So the man without the Holy Spirit cannot understand the spiritual.
Experiencing the Holy Spirit
Christianity has become a diverse umbrella of various beliefs and practices. But according to Romans 10:9-10, only those who confess Jesus as Lord and believe in his resurrection will be saved. And according to Matthew 7:21, many will claim him to be Lord that he will disown because they did not do the will of God. The experience of the indwelling presence of God is limited to those who have confessed Jesus as Lord; who believe in his resurrection; and who do the will of God. To others, understanding the spiritual is the same as it is for the unbeliever; it is a foreign concept. They may accept that there is such a thing, but there is no evidence of it in their lives.
But for the one who has confessed the Lordship of Jesus and lives in obedience to God, the indwelling presence of God is a reality. To the believer, this is evident in their ability to communicate with God and to know his response. Not generally with audible words, but within the awakened spiritual component of our lives. The one without the Holy Spirit labels this as foolishness or imagination. But to the one who experiences it, there is no doubt about the reality of it or its source.
Evidence of the Holy Spirit
But there is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the life of the believers. And that evidence will be evident to others around them. Galatians 5:22-23 identifies the fruit of the Spirit, or the result of his presence within as: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These attributes are indeed found in unbelievers. But they should always be found, in increasing measure, in the lives of those who the Holy Spirit indwells.
There is little proof that can be offered to the skeptic that Christianity alone, among all religions in existence today, or in the past, is the only way to God. I believe it paints a logical and rational picture of a purposeful creator. And that its writings do explain the condition of the world today. But the best that the Bible can do is not eliminate Christianity as a valid pointer to God. It is only in the claimed presence of God within the lives of those who are his that we can have any assurance that we are on the right path. That offers little in the way of proof to the skeptic. But it does offer assurance to the believer that they do indeed have a relationship with God and are on the correct path.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
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